OUTLOOK — By Mohammed Al Rahbi — During my leisure I like to read about business management but I find the psychological side of it closer to my heart than the financial one where you have to dive in an ocean of numeric figures to analyse the business’s performance every now and then. I believe that the former has a great impact on the latter once it is tackled properly.
What inspired me to write this article is a chat I had with a friend who was not happy with how his manager treats his staff. My friend’s dissatisfaction is mainly on the manager’s underestimation of his employees’ abilities and skills to handle their duties to such an extent that he does not even accept their opinion. This is an enduring misunderstanding among many top managers who think that they are the ones who run the establishment and others just have to follow the boss’s directives. Unfortunately, this type of managers do not understand that whatever achievement their organisations made is a direct outcome of the collective effort put in by all members of the establishment, all the way from the gatekeeper to the top job. Everyone has his/her own way of contributing to the organisations success and wellbeing.
This issue reminds me of an article I recently read by Brian Tracy, who is a US-based business trainer as well as the Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specialising in the training and development of individuals and organisations. In his article he stresses the importance of a job that many might consider as ordinary or secondary — that of the receptionist. One might argue that the receptionist’s duty is only to answer calls from various customers or direct them to the appropriate people. If you have the same opinion about the receptionist, then I am sorry to tell you that you are mistaken. The job is much more important than just answering calls. It is actually a very complicated one, especially in big businesses, and the candidate who is selected for this job has to be very smart and competent. This job’s sensibility and importance stems from it being the first contact that most customers have with the business or the organisation.
Thus, the receptionist’s personality and the communication skills he/she has is extremely important because it carries the first and the last impressions that the customer makes about the business. The receptionist’s role becomes bigger and more complicated in multi-business organistions where they have to deal with a bigger number of staff. Their jobs require them to tactfully find out how the caller may be best served and to whom the call might be transferred!
I think this predominant type of management is outdated and its age-old control and command is considered as backward in business theories. Today’s managers are required to take a more flexible role in order to accept and accommodate their people’s opinions and keep their doors as well as their hearts open for their staff’s constructive opinions. Today, employees need a high degree of participation and involvement in their organisation. They should be given the opportunity to discuss and fully understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. This can only be done through regular meetings in which various issues are solved transparently.
People are no longer satisfied with being treated as mere chessmen which the managers move them whenever and wherever they wish. Instead they want to play a more dynamic and integral role in the decision-making process. This participation will consequently lead to the organisatsion’s overall success, and everyone will reap the fruits. Moreover, managers need to show their people that they are important and the organisation’s wellbeing is achieved by their dedication and hard work.
This undoubtedly shows that everyone in the organisation is important in his/her own right. Perhaps sometimes you do not feel the absence of your manager when he/she is away, but you do really feel the absence of the cleaner — whom many look down at — if he/she does not show up for two consecutive days. In fact, what matters at the end of the day is what people do rather than what they are.